Five Tips to Jumpstart Your Painting (On-line art lesson #18)

Stalled with your art and haven’t been creating lately?  Life IS complicated, and your art can seem to be the easiest thing to shove out of an overflowing schedule.  After a bit, NOT painting

Janette Rozene - Watercolor and gouache - Bethesda Fountain

Janette Rozene - Watercolor and gouache - Bethesda Fountain

becomes the norm and you may need a jumpstart.

All the art in this post is by Janette Rozene of Dobbs Ferry, NY.  In her words, “I had barely picked up a paintbrush since my son was born in 1993, so when I read in Lillian’s blog that she would be doing a workshop in New York City, I was thrilled. I was hoping that painting with her would break me out of my paralysis, and the terrific news is that it did; now I’m painting on my weekends.”  The pieces shown here were done during the workshop.

Let’s look at some of the ingredients that created a jumpstart for Janette and got her art-engine purring:

1. Keep it no-excuse simple. Both your art supplies and your desires need to be simple enough so that there is no excuse for not doing a bit of work.  Janette kept it simple with a 5″x 8″ Strathmore 140 lb. spiral watercolor notebook for her watercolor and gouache pieces (and the kit explained in lessons 14 and 15). She used a smaller spiral pad for her drawings.  Her desires were simple enough – show up and do what the group did.  Her medium had always been oils, but oils generally can’t be taken out and used in such a short amount of time – one of the reasons she wasn’t working.

It you feel that you can’t make your art fit into your schedule; simplify your supplies and your plans.  You can always find a scrap of paper and five minutes.  Even One Minute of concentrated drawing will keep the habit up and probably make you (and, therefore, those around you) happier.  Some of the exercises that we did in the workshop took one minute – and some could be done while walking (as unlikely as that seems until you try it).  It’s not ideal to work this way all the time, but, if it’s all you have time for, it will keep your art-life running. The pieces in this post took less than an hour each.


Janette Rozene, subway drawing, Lillian Kennedy workshop

Janette's subway drawings

2. Set specific, but flexible, mini goals. We had numerous little assignments / exercises during the workshop. They were designed to restore our energy from the previous activity. Write a list of mini projects that could fit into your schedule and that would suit your anticipated energy level.  Sometimes we feel exhausted, but what we really need is just a change in activities.  Examples that might work for you: drawing the people around you during a child’s game or doing a watercolor of a flower while listening to the news.  Allow yourself to switch ideas if you get  inspired by something else when the time comes – as long as it’s still artwork.

Janette Rozene, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, watercolor and gouache, Lillian Kennedy workshop

Janette Rozene, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, watercolor and gouache,

3. Make “Create” dates with other people. If you find that “stuff” keeps getting in the way of your intention to create, make a date to work with someone and create together.  It won’t be so easy to decide at the last minute that you “really should do the laundry instead” if you have agreed to meet someone or signed up for a class.

4. Don’t judge your art while you’re working. Such thoughts will only hurt your concentration.  While you’re working, don’t question what your project is (that has already been decided) or how “good” your results seem to be.  Remember, however, that not judging is not the same as being sloppy in your effort…


Janette Rozene, Rembrant copy drawn in the Frick Museum, Lillian Kennedy workshop

Janette Rozene, Rembrant copy drawn in the Frick Museum

5. Work with full engagement. Each time you work, work with full intention and focus.  Always try to do your best – the best you can under the circumstances.



This entry was posted in Acrylic Painting Classes and Workshops, drawing lesson, sketchbook art lesson, watercolor and gouache. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Five Tips to Jumpstart Your Painting (On-line art lesson #18)

  1. Janette Rozene says:

    Lillian, You are a superb teacher. I love your inspiring tips to jumpstart your painting. I did try a few quick sketches on my commuter train this week, some standing on the platform. The biggest thing is to switch my mindset to get out of the “not-painting doldrums”. You are right that watercolors are much easier to grab than oils and working small helps if you have a short period of time. But I am also finding that watercolors freed me to be play with color more than oils. They feel more like drawing with color. Seeing my work on your blog is a nice encouragement! I will try to follow your tips and figure out how to photograph my new things and email them to you. Thanks for your inspiration. love, Janette

  2. Ellen Bedford says:

    Hi. I’m Janette’s sister in CT. Thanks for getting her started again. You should see her portraits, which I feel are so much better than her landscapes. They are fantastic. You feel as if you know the person she has painted. Since you’ve encouraged her to paint again, maybe she’ll try portraits next. I hope you have a healthy and happy year ahead and thanks again for your influence on Janette.

  3. Nyla Witmore says:

    Congrats Janette, and what a drawing of Rembrandt!
    I like Lilly’s comment about “one minute will make you (and others) happier.
    Is that true. My husband, before retirement, when he worked full time, would come home from work and ask (I was a writer back then), “Have you written anything today?” On the days when I said, “No,” he always replied, “I CAN TELL JUST BY LOOKING AT YOUR FACE.”

    Yes, there is a different look about us. Why? Because our “insides” have been fed when we create something. It shows in our face muscles (more relaxed) as well as the “look” that comes out of our eyes. They say the eyes are the key to the soul. So why not feed it?

    • Lillian,

      I’m sooo glad you featured Janette’s work from the workshop in NYC. Her Bethesda fountain piece was (and is) my favorite piece from the whole week. I really enjoyed meeting Janette. She was almost like an assistant workshop leader! I learned so much from her, and I really appreciate the time she took to share her knowledge with us. She is a lovely person, and I wish she lived in Boulder so I could get to know her better. It was great to make a new friend at the workshop in NYC. I was amazed to hear that Janette has not painted much since 1993. I would never have guessed that. She is oozing with talent. I’m glad she got a “jumpstart” again. She needs to share her art with the world.

      • Janette Rozene says:

        I loved meeting you and Lillian’s band of wonderful women artists! What a wonderful, supportive group. Janette

  4. Claudia Bismark says:

    Janette has always been phenomenal, both as a painter and whatever you want to call the other talent that makes her an inspiration to anyone in the group. So glad you have been an inspiration to her … Back to the easel, Janette!

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